Larry Moore: The Dreidel Song

Publisher | choral music,composers,hanukkah,men's,mixed,secular,winter season | Friday, June 10th, 2016

Dreidels 400
In reviewing the selection of Hanukkah-themed music in our catalog, we realized that the majority of pieces predominantly feature contemplative and/or anthemic qualities in tone and mood. And that’s all good and appropriate! But, we did recognize a need to boost our offerings of Hanukkah music that is joyous, upbeat and celebratory. So, we put the challenge to YRM writer Larry Moore, an accomplished Broadway music arranger and orchestrator, and he graciously accepted!

The result is his unique setting of The Dreidel Song (music by S. E. Goldfarb and Mikhl Gelbart, English lyrics by Samuel S. Grossman). It is an exuberant and playful arrangement, bringing to vivid musical life the spinning of the dreidel, and we’re so excited to offer it to our customers!

Larry shared the following thoughts regarding his approach to this piece:

When Yelton Rhodes asked me to write a lively Hanukkah arrangement, I remembered that the band in which my friend Chris Coluzzi played drums had performed and participated in several Hanukkah dreidel spinning competitions. Of the several dreidel songs I found, I thought this one was my best option to adapt. The melody had a limited range, which was perfect for moving into different keys, but I needed a framework and a secondary theme.

As I wandered about singing the Dreidel Song to myself and wondering what to do with it, I found that I kept slipping into the theme from Le Bal, the last movement of Georges Bizet’s wonderful Jeux d’infants. I am very happy that one of my favorite composers (whose wife Geneviève Halévy was Jewish, incidentally) gave me exactly what I needed.

A Bizet-inspired arrangement of The Dreidel Song? Sounds wonderfully intriguing, doesn’t it?!

Available for men’s chorus or mixed chorus and piano. To peruse a partial score PDF, click on either TTBB or SATB.

Randi Grundahl Rexroth: My True Love Hath My Heart

Publisher | a cappella,choral music,composers,famous poets,love,men's,secular,women's | Thursday, June 4th, 2009

randi-rexroth
When YRM’s submission review committee first looked at Randi Grundahl Rexroth‘s My True Love Hath My Heart… we knew we had to publish it! The piece is a lovely and playful madrigal (a cappella) with a charming text written by Sir Philip Sydney, one of the Elizabethan Age’s most prominent figures.

What makes the way that Rexroth adapted the text particularly special is its ability to accommodate a variety of gender references. My True Love Hath My Heart is composed for either women’s or men’s chorus (download the first three pages of each score as a PDF by clicking on the links), with each voicing able to use either “his” or “her” pronouns. This flexibility allows a chorus to express themselves precisely as they’d like!

Randi shares the following story about the inspiration for the piece:

“I needed to give my boyfriend a Christmas gift, but I was not able to buy him much. After speaking with my mother, who is a composer herself, she sent me the Philip Sydney text. She had tried to set herself, but had come up short. I remember her saying “I wanted to compose a contemporary madrigal, but I just couldn’t hear it”. As soon as I received the words I heard this piece.

I wrote the song as a solo and recorded it as my gift. A month later, I arranged the piece to be an SSAA arrangement that would be used in our wedding. The choir that sang My True Love Hath My Heart was made up of students from the schools where we teach and was touted as a highlight of the ceremony.”

Randi Grundahl Rexroth’s My True Love Hath My Heart:

Randi Driscoll: What Matters (2002)

Publisher | choral music,composers,gay & lesbian,men's,mixed,secular,Topics,women's | Monday, July 21st, 2008

Two performances of “What Matters” by Randi Driscoll: the first by the composer (YouTube video), the second by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (an audio file:click the play button).


“What Matters”
Words, music, and performance by Randi Driscoll

This is an arrangement by Kevin Robison available in three voicings sung here is the TTBB version.

What Matters (2002)
COMPOSER :: Randi Driscoll
ARRANGER :: Kevin Robison
INSTR :: chorus and piano
DURATION :: 04:00
YR2R11v1 Full score (TTBB) $1.85
YR2R11v2 Full score (SATB) $1.85
YR2R11v3 Full score (SSAA) $1.85

Lyrics

you were the brightest angel heaven had ever seen you walked in with a story to tell and ten thousand tongues to scream and you said doesn’t your heart beat the same as mine haven’t i told you a thousand times isn’t the air in my lungs the same air you breathe so who cares whose arms i’m all wrapped up in who cares whose eyes i see myself in who cares who i dream of who cares who i love heaven help me for i am lost what a price my love did cost but here i am standing strong and i am free and didn’t we share the same sunrise and sleep in the same moonlight isn’t the blood in my veins the same blood you bleed so when i die and they lay my body down the peace that i will find is the peace that brings you all around doesn’t my mother cry like everyone my father grieve for his lonely son isn’t my rainbow a little brighter because so who cares whose arms i’m all wrapped up in who cares whose eyes i see myself in who cares who i dream of no it doesn’t matter who i dream of ’cause in the end it only matters that i was loved and am loved love has no face

Copyright 2000 New Light Media

Notes by Randi Driscoll:

When I first heard the story of what happened to Matthew Shepard, I was saddened and outraged. I wanted to kick in my television, rip out my heart and cry all at the same time. I was horrified at what humans were capable of. However, I then remember seeing his parents, outside in the rain, shortly after his funeral. I was speechless and stricken by their sense of compassion and decency. I clearly remember the way the Shepards told us to pray for Matt and not harbor any feelings of hatred for his attackers. I also remember clearly how they described their son as a man who would not want us to hate…because Matthew loved and accepted everyone. Their grace moved me to tears.

So with that, I went into my bedroom and wrote a song about Matthew and the love he represents. I planned on sending a taped copy to his parents, as a form of my own personal condolences.

Later that month, however, I was playing a show at Borders Books and Music in San Diego. I was thinking of Matt a lot that day and for some reason, I chose to sing Matt’s song (which I hadn’t really even finished yet). What happened next was amazing. Men and women of all ages came up to me in tears and expressed how they had been so moved by what happened to Matthew. A mother of two small children reached for my hand and cried. A man came up to me and spoke through his tears. People clutched one another, crying. It was then that I realized how Matthew’s story had touched so many others

And then there was Dana. Dana LeeWood is another musician from San Diego. She was performing that evening as well. When Dana heard the song, she began to sob and immediately began to tell the audience how passionately she felt about this incident. It seemed Dana’s brother had taken his own life, due to the pressures he felt being a gay man in today’s world. Dana encouraged me to record the song. She pursued me for several weeks, bringing people to shows and talking about Matt’s story.

Finally in January, Dana amazed me by giving me some free studio time she had won at Studio West in San Diego. With the help of many musicians who shared their time and talents, and a small company in LA, we were able to record this song.

Dana hoped to share the song with many people by selling the CD single. We agreed that the only way to do this was to have all of the proceeds from the single go to anti-hate crime organizations: i.e.. The Matthew Shepard Foundation.

We decided to release only a limited pressing. We chose not to do a major media press release in hopes of maintaining the integrity of the project, but rather hold a small fund raiser at a local venue in town, Twiggs coffeehouse. Imagine our surprise when on March 5th, 1999, the intimate coffeehouse was packed to the gills with people. Local citizens and musicians came to help support the cause and to perform. A local publication, Slamm magazine, took out a full page ad on the benefit, and Tracy Page Presents donated prizes for a raffle. The evening was so beautiful. It brought me to tears to see the room packed with people who cared so very much.

That same evening we informed the audience about anti-hate crime organizations and made web site addresses available for them to take home. We were able to sell over over 200 CDs that evening alone. I can remember driving home with a feeling of hope that I hadn’t had in a while.

Through my contacts with anti-hate crime organizations, I was invited to meet with Judy Shepard on Easter Sunday in Laramie, Wyoming, to speak with her and share Matthew’s song. I sat next to a woman who had, only six months earlier, lost her son to a vicious hate crime. Yet, there was no hate that I could see. She spoke of her son with a warm smile….and with grace…always grace. She seemed determined to have his death not be in vain as she spoke about her hopes for a better tomorrow.

Along with Judy, there were many other angels that weekend in Laramie. Gathered outside of the courthouse in Laramie for a press conference in support of active measures against hate were members of GLSEN, Cathy Renna of GLAAD, Valerie Baker-Easley of LAMBDA , Marlene Hines of the North West Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, Jerry Switzer from the B.E.A.R. Foundation and many of Matthew’s friends. People standing together on common ground, grieving the loss of Matthew and praying for a better tomorrow. People breathing the same air…under the same Wyoming sky.

Since that time almost two years ago, I have traveled to over sixty cities in the USA and Canada performing the benefit single at charity events, pride festivals and concerts. I have traveled to several high schools and colleges with New Light Media as part of a program featuring the screening of the documentary Journey to a Hate- Free Millennium. I have also appeared as Judy Shepard’s guest in Oakland and the Millennium March on Washington.

I thank God for what this experience has taught me. I thank him for the numerous e-mails that I have received from people who have heard the song. People who have chosen to share their most intimate details with me. Stories of love, acceptance and hope. I also thank God for the people I’ve met at shows. I thank God for the woman who lost her friend to a suicide, for the man who received a copy of the song as an Easter gift and for the strangers who hug me with tears in their eyes and say thank you.

And I thank God for the Shepards. I have often said that this work is the most important work I have ever done….and this song, .the most important one I have ever written. I have seen angels, who believe as I do, that love is unconditional…that love has no face.

Roger Bourland: Alarcon Madrigals, Book 3 (2006)

Publisher | a cappella,choral music,secular,women's | Thursday, September 13th, 2007

A year ago I spent 10 days in Maui and Kauai working on the third installment of settings of poetry of Francisco X Alarcón. The first set was commissioned by Vance Wolverton and the Cal State Women’s Fullerton Women’s Chorus. Books 2 and 3 were commissioned by Iris Levine and Vox Femina/Los Angeles. (All are available from Yelton Rhodes Music.)

[RB]

fxa.jpg

ALARCON MADRIGALS, Book 3 (2006)

Music by Roger Bourland
Poetry by Francisco X Alarcón
Performed by Vox Femina/LA, Iris Levine, conductor (May 2007)

1. Body in Flames

I want to abandon
words

go and awaken
the senses

I want
no memory

rather to embrace
every instant
to a frenzy

I want to think
with my feet

I want to cry
with my shoulders

I want to set
my body on fire

2. Lamentario

es triste ser vaso y nunca llenarse
ser puerta y siempre quedarse trancada
ser cama sentirse mortaja no lecho
es triste ser uno y nunca sumar dos
ser ave sin nido ser santo sin vela
ser solo y vivir soñando abrazos

3. Like a crazed flower

there has never been sunlight for this love,
like a crazed flower it buds in the dark,
is at once a crown of thorns and
a spring garland around the temples

a fire, a wound, the bitterest fruit,
but a breeze as well, a source of water,
your breath –– a bite to the soul,
your chest––a tree trunk in the current

make me walk on the turbid waters,
be the ax that breaks this lock,
the dew that weeps from trees

If I become mute kissing your thighs,
it’s that my heart eagerly
searches your flesh for a new dawn

4. Face and Heart

may our ears hear what nobody wants to hear
may our eyes see what everyone wants to hide
may our mouths speak our true faces and hearts
may our arms be branches that give shade and joy

let us be a drizzle, a sudden storm
let us get wet in the rain
let us be the key, the hand, the door, the kick, the ball, the road
let us arrive as children to this huge playground ––
the universe

5. Guardian Angel

When I felt so sad and all alone
Wanting to cry in the classroom
The girl sitting next to me
Suddenly held my hand
And with the darkest and most tender eyes
I’ve ever seen
Told me without a word
“Don’t worry, you are not alone.”

Poetry © Francisco X. Alarcón

Brian Throckmorton: Star Spangled Banner

Publisher | children's,composers,men's,mixed,patriotic,secular,women's | Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Fireworks

Does your chorus yawn when they sing about “the rockets’ red glare” and the “bombs bursting in air”? If so, then perhaps your ol’ stand-by arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” just isn’t cutting it anymore. Might be time to update your library with Brian Throckmorton’s clever re-imagining of this patriotic song. It has very subtle “twists” that will put more fireworks into your performance and engage your audience’s ears!

Throckmorton’s “Star-Spangled Banner” is available for men’s, women’s/children’s and mixed choruses (all a cappella).  Click on previous links to view a PDF of the first two pages of each score.

Star-Spangled Banner (men’s)

Star-Spangled Banner (children’s)

Roger Bourland: Small but fateful victory

RB | secular,women's | Thursday, April 26th, 2007

alarcon1.jpg

Here is the final movement from ALARCON MADRIGALS, BOOK 1, called “A small but fateful victory” for women’s chorus. This movement has been the most popular of the set. It deals with a small rebellion from the women in the family where the father ends up doing the dishes – a small, but FATEFUL victory. The poem is by Francisco X. Alarcon and the story comes from his childhood growing up in Los Angeles.
There is some metrical trickiness but the meters follow the text, so once the chorus makes that connection, it’s easy.

I’ve also composed two other sets: Alarcon Madrigals, Book 2, and Alarcon Madrigals, Book 3.

This performance is by Muse, Cathy Roma, Artistic Director

[Note: there is an odd high distortion in the playback of mp3 files on Flash websites. If you visit this blog in a reader or a feed aggregator, you will not hear this distortion.]

Powered by WordPress | Theme by Roy Tanck